THREE goals in the first 23 minutes proved enough for Salisbury to claim the bragging rights in the Cathedral Derby with a vitally-important 3-1 victory over Winchester City.
Justin Bennett, Tommy Wright and Eddie Perrett capped off an explosive start as Whites stay in fourth spot and are within a point of third-placed Tiverton Town.
Bennett hit the opener with just 60 seconds on the clock, sending a glancing header past Lewis Noice from Perrett’s cross. It was a significant moment for the striker as he took his goal tally to 41 in all competitions to become the re-formed club’s all-time record scorer.
His partner-in-crime Wright was next to get on the scoresheet in the 17th minute as he stabbed home George Colson’s low cross.
And five minutes later the night’s work was complete when a curling Tom Whelan cross was poked home by Perrett at the far post.
Winchester gave themselves a lifeline when their first shot on target beat Alex Bass. Craig Feeney led a counter attack on the left wing and unselfishly played in Sam Wilson who stroked home against his former club.
Eleven minutes after the break Bennett left the field clutching his hamstring. His replacement, Taurean Roberts, nearly conjured up two good chances, but couldn’t beat Noice in goal.
Claudio Herbert sent a fizzing effort goalwards and Wright was thwarted in a one-on-one situation.
Benson then thought he added a fourth deep into stoppage time when his sumptuous free-kick was destined for the top corner but Noice pulled-off a fingertip save.
After being backed by 600 fans, boss Steve Claridge told JournalSport: “I thought we were fantastic for 20 minutes, then we did what we had to do.
“We weren’t great, they probably had a couple of chances and we’ve had seven, eight or nine to put it to bed and we haven’t.”
“I pleased we won but there are one or two massive question marks over one or two players.”